When policy, practice don’t match

Organizations need to be more aware of the expectations they raise when they advertising their mission, vision and values on their websites. By building an online presence, companies seek to position, brand and market themselves to attract customers to their products, clients to their services and employees to their workforce.

The problem is that many companies don’t put enough thought into the design of this online footprint. They seem to think that the actual content doesn’t matter. As long as there is a website and a mission statement – any website or mission statement will do – then values are optional. “There, we have a website like everyone else, now let’s get back to business.”

Quite often, web content is hopelessly outdated and riddled with errors, as no one bothers to update and proofread content once it’s online. The latest press release under the ‘News’ tab is from September 2011. Job postings that closed long ago are still up.

Some PR people and marketing departments seem to think that customers won’t actually read what is written and won’t care whether a company lives up to expectations. HR people seem to think that employees and job applicants don’t actually read the posted HR manual and hiring policies.

But a credibility gap will open up when the general public, potential customers and job applicants feel that an organization doesn’t care.

Building a brand is not just a matter of setting up a website or massive advertising campaigns. A brand is built one experience or one hit at a time. When a touchpoint occurs, the individual consumer, client or job applicant forms an opinion on a company or organization.

First impressions last. Let’s say ABC Inc. states that it strives to deliver the ultimate customer service. If a potential customer, inspired by a radio ad, calls for further information and is then treated rudely by the receptionist or someone in a call centre, that’s it for the ultimate customer service experience.

And good luck trying to change that caller’s mind by sending out flyers or e-coupons. Also, the disappointed caller may share this experience on Twitter, Facebook or a blog.

In the realm of employment, organizations tend to present themselves as dynamic and fast-paced, while personal experience and anecdotal evidence it is obvious many are in fact static and slow-paced. New hires usually find this out once they are already on board. On their websites, companies tend to state something along the lines of “ABC Inc. is a progressive organization that is focused on continuous improvement and innovation. We offer a collaborative team environment with a dynamic culture and standard of excellence”.

The hiring policy, if stated, tends to say “We will hire and promote on the basis of candidates’ qualifications”. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

continue reading… LinkedIn

by Evert Akkerman

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